It’s nearly party (conference) time, so over the next few weeks NMJ will be focusing on public policy and what it means for the future of journalism. We’ll be looking at the political developments in Westminster and Whitehall, and how digital media are helping people to influence policy in new ways.
The Department of Culture, Media and Sport gave NMJ this statement: ‘The government is clear that we need strong media, both national and local, underpinned by quality journalism, which is fundamentally important for citizens and our democratic process.’
In terms of general sentiment, so far, so good. In practice, DCMS is limiting its aspirations to cutting media regulation and promoting local TV stations.
In November, work will begin on a Communications Bill, expected to come to Parliament in late 2012, to bring about a relaxation of the cross-ownership rules that govern the local media. The idea is that a new generation of local TV stations will replace regional news organisations like ITV, becoming commercially viable multi-media platforms providing TV, print and online content.
Licensing for the new TV companies is expected to begin in 2012, with up to twenty local TV stations licensed by the time the current parliament ends in 2015.